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Setting My Small Lawn Business

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by moleman, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. moleman

    moleman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I want to cut a few lawns on the side by myself. I may use one other guy part time (sometime), but primarily I will be the sole owner/worker. For a very small landscaping business, I just want to ask you guys the best way to set up my business - LLC or sole propretorship. I know the LLC limits liability but it also involves additional paperwork with the State and IRS. Under a sole proprietorship, I plan to get insurance to protect me if I bust a window or cause bodily injury to someone. I'd like to go sole proprietorship, but I want to make sure I'm not overlooking something.

  2. grassnazi1

    grassnazi1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 73

    I think the first thing you really need to do is educate yourself on setting up/forming a business structure. Do the research and go to the library and take out a few books. The only person who can answer "whats the best business structure" is YOU. What works for me may or may not work for you. We have no idea what assests you have to loose, what type of equipment you own or will be buying, what type of accounts you have etc. Not trying to sound harsh if I am coming off that way, but the opnly person who can tell you whats right for you...is you. I would reccomend putting together some form of business plan, seek the advice of an accountant, lawyer, and insurance company and make your business legit from day one. If you are NOT in a position to do this, then your really only screwing yourself in the long run. I wish you the best of luck, but if your not willing to take the time and learn how to do this properly, then your not going to go anywhere. If you fail to plan....then you plan to fail.... Hope this helps.
  3. StihlGreen

    StihlGreen LawnSite Member
    from us
    Messages: 40

    In my personal opinion (you will here 10 different ones) I would set yourself up as a Limited Liability Company. As a Sole Proprietor, your personal assets are not protected. I have heard of people losing their houses, and filing for bankruptcy etc... what a nightmare!! The paperwork is very simple!! Contact your Secretary of State to see what licenses you need, and the IRS for your EIN 'Employer Identification Number" and so on. Most importantly, get yourself some good insurance. Good luck bro..
  4. Goodaaron

    Goodaaron LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Messages: 16

    I would go with an LLC they combine the personal liability protection of a corporation with the tax benefits and simplicity of a partnership. Just starting out an incorporation would be a waste of time and a DBA doesn't provide you with enough personal protection. In other words, the owners (or members) of an LLC are not personally liable for its debts and liabilities but also have the benefit of being taxed only once on their profits. The seperation of the owner of the business from the business entity (the LLC) gives business owners more protection in lawsuits and protects your personal assets (house,boat, savings) from lawsuits. Moreover, LLCs are more flexible and require less ongoing paperwork than an S corporation. You might want to checkout the Legalzoom sponsor on this site. It is located at the bottom of the page in the sponsor box on the right. Paperwork can be complicated and Legalzoom takes care of that for you. :)
  5. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    I am going the sole proprietor route for now. I don't have huge assets, and have insurance. I may go LLC next year, but right now I am buried in paperwork just to get legal. I'm taking a certified tech course right now, will get my business license Monday, then permits from 2 town municipalities, then a Consumer Affairs license, then get the business registered to apply pesticides, right after I take the Certified Tech test.

    In between all this, I have to find an accountant, buy about 5k worth of equipment, join like three trade organizations.... all while trying to develop a solid customer base, which means handing out 4k door hangers and doing some other advertising.

    I started last year wanting to just do plantings, and found out I had to do maintanence too, to get that business. I got more accounts, but many are just cut and blows... not what I want. I think LLC is the way to go, but when I come up for air!
  6. Goodaaron

    Goodaaron LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Messages: 16

    Hey Whitey,

    Hang in there it will all be worth it in the long run. Best of luck in 2008!:)
  7. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    Thanks... the paperwork trail and fees are killin me! I didn't mention a Cert of Authority to collect sales tax, getting a FEIN, and on and on. Just the accumulation of govt fees is up to about $900, not to mention the $1000 I am spending to get a cert tech license and a business permit to do apps. Aside from my own 1 mil liability ins policy, it looks like I need a SECOND 300k liability insurance that the county Consumer Affairs gets to be the benifitiary of! In other words, I have to provide the Consumer affiars dept with their own insurance on my dime! Just incredible. $400 just for the consumer affairs license, and then insurance on top of that too? (seperate from my own insurance) !!!!!

    One of the three biggest lies in the world: "Hello, I am from the government, and I'm here to help you!" :hammerhead:
  8. bigw

    bigw LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,540

    WOW YOU SOUND LIKE ME!!!:dizzy:
  9. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    Yeah, I've been watching your multiple threads! Yes, I am gettin stressed too. Despite my best efforts, I will still be breaking the law. I have some ads scheduled to run before I get the consumer affairs license. Little did I know when I bought them that this would happen. I am busting my nuts to do it all right, but even that isn't enough to be Mr Clean. there will be about a 3 week window where my ads won't be entirely legal, but I can't even cancel those contracts now!

    So, I'm riding a wave now.... I either drown on the way in, or ride the sucker to terra firma. Please God, don't let me drown!
  10. lawnprosteveo

    lawnprosteveo LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 1,930

    Im no attorney (thank God) but my opinion is that a sole proprietorship is all a small solo outfit needs. Theres probably alot of bigger guys out there wholl disagree with that. My biz is going on its 6th yr as a sole proprietorship and I dont plan on ever changing it.

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